You may be asking, bees? Aren’t there bigger problems in the world?
Here’s the thing, one out of every three bites of food taken around the world are because of pollinators like bees. And if we think about just the foods like fruits and vegetables we need, the importance of bees goes way up! To boil it down, if we lose our bees, we lose a significant number of pollinators, and from that, the food that keeps the world going.
So, yes, bees are really important. But it’s not just the honey bees! In fact, we’re overlooking a very important star of the pollinating world, the native bees.
Until very recently, I didn’t understand the difference between honey bees and well… all other bees. That’s until I started diving into the research for this Conspiracy Chronicle. Honey bees are actually a domesticated species. And, there are only 7 honey bee species out of the 24,000 or so bee species worldwide!
So, let’s take a minute to appreciate the native bee! Native bees tend to be far better pollinators than their honey bee friends. And the vast majority (about 90%!) are also super gentle too, so you don't have to worry about a sting from one of these little guys. So yeah, they have some serious potential when it comes to more efficiently pollinating our food systems! There’s a catch though.
In the United States, it’s estimated that one-quarter of the over 4,000 species of native bees are at an increasing risk of extinction. With issues like habitat loss, pesticide use, and a severe lack of understudying, native bees are becoming more at risk.
Indeed, before we even have time to study and appreciate these mighty little species they could be gone!
So, what can we do to be better stewards of native bees? Why not ask the experts from our featured thought leader tackling the problem, Crown Bees!